Development and implementation processes of digitalization in engineer-to-order manufacturing: enablers and barriers.
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This study seeks to gain knowledge about key conditions in the process of digitalization using a socio-technical systems design as a theoretical framework and a case-study approach. Semi-structured interviews with 15 relevant stakeholders are conducted to learn about barriers to and enablers of the development and implementation process in a manufacturing company. After conducting a thematic analysis, eight higher-ranked themes relevant to the digitalization process are identified. These are grouped to describe the overarching phenomena, resulting in four enablers (shared trust, shared visual understanding, shared user perspective, and shared learning) and four barriers (trusting the system, understanding benefits, perspective of economics, and learning to manage scope). The study takes a holistic view of digitalization in its investigation of the development and subsequent implementation processes. The findings contribute to the literature via three key takeaways for stakeholders of a digitalization process in manufacturing. First, it is vital to understand and strengthen the role of the key enablers identified in this paper. Second, managers should observe and identify barriers in their own organizations, related both to technical and social aspects. Third, some of the enablers described in this paper can serve managers as helpful tools to approach the expected barriers to digitalization. This paper also challenges the research literature by arguing that research conducted on digitalization that sets new standards and premises for the working life in industry needs to use up-to-date socio-technical design concepts and theories.